So our day was comprised of a short Aussie Sunday drive of 500k. No embellishment involved in this number!! Our final destination is the Aboriginal Community of Frog Hollow. We have made a bit of an error by referring to the communities as reservations so just wanted to correct that.
We are in The Kimberly Region of Western Australia which it is huge cattle country; fruit growing country and the last area of Australia to be settled.
Off we head and our first interesting encounter of the day was the Ivanhoe crossing of the Ord River.
At first we thought that it was not safe to cross until we watched a few others accomplish the feat. The level was below .4 of a meter which we were told was the max level you cross at.
After talking to a local who said “she’ll be right mate”, we put her into low gear (4WD vehicle is a must up here), wound down the windows and took our seat belts off and headed over. Winding down the windows and taking off the seat belts is to ensure for a quick escape should the need arise.
We were all still a bit unsure as the water was running quickly. Note the Roo Bar on the front of the car!
But we made it safely and then continued on to the next crossing which was just around the corner.
We were heading off to Wyndham which is north of Kununurra and decided to take the back road for a bit of an adventure. By now it was warming up!
Got our drift. Air con was on full blast and sucking up the fuel but there are some things in life that are a must and not a desire. Due to all the lightening and thunder storms in the evenings there are lots of small bush fires in the area which have made for a hazy view.
Just like this one.
We made our way to the old port town of Wyndham. Between the years of 1918-1985 this was a real boom town as it had the biggest abattoir in the Southern Hemisphere. They would muster then drive the cattle for weeks coming from a large area of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Once at Wyndham they would slaughtered, then put onto refrigerated vessels to go out to the Timor Sea.
There are five rivers that come into the estuary that Wyndham is located on and as you can see the river here is very wide. What you are seeing though is four of the five rivers and this is the end of the dry season. Imagine it in flood which it will be soon.
This is looking in the opposite direction where the mighty Ord River empties into the Cambridge Gulf and then the Timor Sea.
Quick lunch under the only bit of shade then down to town. It was Sunday and hot, hot, hot and there was absolutely no-one around and the place was all shut up. It is looking like a town that is dying.
For a while they shipped live cattle but that stopped a while back. They use to ship live to Indonesia rather than frozen as they never use to have refrigerators up there and also the fact that they wanted to kill the Muslim way.
Mangos grow wild here. These ones are still too green to pick but they are a darn good size. We learnt the hard way a while ago that you do not over indulge in mangos!!!!
We are definitely in cyclone territory which is during the months of December to February. Like hurricanes, once they hit land they dissipate but dump huge amounts of rain and have devastating winds.
As we mentioned, Wyndham is a dying town and we found lots and lots of evidence of that.
From Wyndham we headed back onto Highway 1 and towards Frog Hollow where Amanda lives and works. We passed by a number of these monsters and it was distressing to see them full of cattle in 41c heat. Don’t know how far they have travelled.
We stopped along the way to check out one of the numerous termite hills. Compared to the ones in the Northern Territory, these are tiny. This one is over six foot tall. You need to keep an eye out for the termites and ants as if they are bull ants you are in deep doo doo. If they get into your shoes, they bite and are extremely painful, blister and then turn into tropical sores.
Can anyone tell us what this bird is????
We said we would fill you in a bit more about the crops that are grown in the Ord River as well as the Sandalwood trees. Chickpeas, sorghum seed, melons, pumpkins, mangoes, bananas, citrus, irrigated pasture, tropical forests and sugar cane. Sugar production accounts for approximately one third, by area, of the cultivated land.
While Western Australia has native Australian sandalwood, it has in recent years become home to the world’s biggest plantations of Indian sandalwood, prized commercially for its high oil content. Demand for sandalwood oil in perfumes, traditional medicine and joss sticks is growing fast, but demand from Asia has struggled to keep up.
We finally got into Frog Hollow just before dusk after a pretty long day. It is advisable not to drive at night around here as there is no fencing for the cattle and hitting a cow is a one way street.